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Visa regime drives Turkish skiers away from Bulgaria

Date: 05.11.2007

Heavy visa regime requirements that Bulgaria introduced after acceding to the European Union discourage Turkish tourists from visiting its ski resorts, the ambassador complained in Sofia.

Turkish ambassador Mehmed Guguk conferred with the President of Bulgarian Industrial Association Bozhidar Danev in the hope of finding ways for easing the visa regime between the two neighboring countries.

"The new visa procedure is too slow and hinders development of business relations between the two countries," said the ambassador. A laxer visa regime would increase tourism flow towards Bulgarian ski resorts, according to Guguk. He also put an accent on the procedures of issuing business visas.

Turkish tourists flow to Bulgaria increased by 20% during the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year, exceeding 209,000, show figures released by Bulgarian Agency of Tourism.

A total of 231 000 Turkish tourists visited Bulgaria in 2006, when the EU visa regime was not in force, marking a 14,7% decrease over the previous year.

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